Nearly a month after this class, the instructors are still talking about the fun they had with this class of 12 students who encompassed Marine Crop Senior Enlisted NCO's all the way to retiree's and "Crossfitters". This 2 day class challenged shooters to become faster, safer and more efficient concealed carry shooters. During this class we worked hard to ensure students were properly focusing on the fundamentals and working through stress inoculation and distractions.
During this class, all of the students displayed a supreme ability to work safely with their respective firearms. In fact - this class had ZERO safety violations or even close calls. Students were shown the "Index position" which places the trigger finger straight and off the trigger/guard and puts the finger against the upper slide. This position takes a lot of discipline to learn in a short time and maturity to remember during stressful events.
Additionally, students did an excellent job of checking for additional threats, assessing for injuries and breaking tunnel vision by conducting a 360 degree scan know as a "Search and Assessment" This assessment is done by depressing the firearm after it has been discharged and checking your front, left, front, right, front and rear for any additional problems or obstacles. Although this technique can be tiresome and frankly annoying, it is critical to build into repetition and habit.
This technique was taught and enforced again and again by the T3 guys. Remember,it's very important for any defensive student to conduct a scan and assessment after every engagement a shooter conducts to build muscle memory into their routine operations.
Student also learned about the T3 5 step draw which includes the following:
Step 1: Establishing a high firm pistol grip and breaking any retention device on the holster of your pistol. It finishes once the pistol has been pulled straight out of the holster towards the arm pit.
Step 2: Step two begins when the pistol is immediately pointed parallel to the deck and begins to move towards the breast bone where it meets the off hand which is pinned to the middle of your chest.
Step 3: Begins when the pistol/strong hand, and the off hand marry together, form a proper grip and begin to extend outward.
Step 4: As the pistol begins to move toward the target, the extension of the gun naturally raises to your eyes where a sight picture is gained.
Step 5: This step acquires the sights on a threat and pulls the trigger with a proper trigger press, follow though and recovery.
After learning the 5 step draw, students were shown the process to move 1 or 2 steps to the left or right to avoid a direct and static target to which an aggressor would have an easier time engaging. It was critical for students to remember that during magazine reloads and stoppage drills, they need to move a little to become a harder target. By taking this simple "Off X" movement, students increase their likelihood of surviving a deadly encounter.
All in all, November's sold out T3 PE class went great. We were also happy to see over 50% of the students sign up for additional classes same day and over 75% of the students in the next 24 hours. Thank you all for a great day of fun, guns and good friends. We can't wait to see all of you in the Carbine, Designated Marksman and Shotgun classes. Be smart and keep training.
Just 2 weeks ago, T3 hosted its third edition of Pistol Essentials this year and we had a great time meeting 11 new students, shooters and personalities. Of the 11 students, several had taken formal classes from us prior to this, but most were new to the defensive shooting world.
Before we begin, we would like to thank all of the students for participating in this class. Below you will find several photos, drills, and home work items you can take away from this blog and use in your every day training package.
The student experience ranged from almost new shooters to professionally instructed concealed carry users. We hope you all learned several new things at this class, and we will highlight a few of those items below:
The Basics of Marksmanship:
Aiming: Aiming is the first of the "three" fundamentals of marksmanship. Aiming includes two items we have to pay attention to; Sight picture and sight alignment. Sight Picture, remember, is the way a shooter focuses on the rear sight, front sight and target. It is IMPERATIVE the shooter focuses on the front sight to gain excellent sight picture. Essentially, the target and rear sight should be blurry while shooting. Sight Alignment is the relation between the front sight and rear sight. Remember, we want to ensure the rear site and front site are aligned on top and have equal space to the left and right as it appears. Take a look at the photo below as an example.
Breathing: The second rule to the ABC's is breathing. Although breathing generally doesn't have a huge effect on marksmanship inside of 15 yards, it is a fundamental that needs to be practiced properly. Breathing while shooting is very easy to do, the difficulty lies in remembering to do it. Here is how breathing works.
Every human breathes about 10 - 12 times a minute. Between each inhalation and exhalation is something called "Natural Respiratory Pause." This is the time we try to take our shot. You breath in, you breath out, and you have a natural pause...Boom! The issue is, this doesn't always time up to when we want to take a shot or a threat needs to be taken out. Because of this, we teach combat breathing. This simple technique can be used every time you take a shot, or a sequence of shots.
To do this breathing technique, start with your gun in the holster and stand ready. When you decide to take a shot, simply exhale a normal amount of air out of your lungs rapidly while drawing the gun. This should give you about 3 - 5 seconds to find the sight picture and pull the trigger. If you need to take 2 or three shots, no big deal. If your shooting a lot of rounds, you make sure to take another breath, forcefully exhale and do it again. This simple combat breathing exercise will increase accuracy and decrease many of the cardiovascular effects that hurt us as shooters while under stress.
Trigger Control: Trigger control is arguably the most important part of the ABC's. There are 5 components to the trigger package that we should all understand prior to honing our marksmanship skills: Take up (slack), creep, break, over-travel and reset. In a future video, which will be linked here, we will discuss those in detail. Trigger Control needs to be consistent, both in mechanics and employment.
Start by picking a trigger finger location that is somewhere between your first finger joint and the center of your nail bed. After that, continue to mount the gun and keep the same finger location the same every time. You can also put an ink dot on your finger and then look at your trigger to be sure of correct placement. Remember, often times, adding too much finger will cause the gun to pull away from the center of the body and adding too little will push the gun to the center of the body.
Next, practice taking all of the slack out of your trigger, or at least until you meet resistance. This should be done EVERY time you pull the trigger. Pulling the slack out will shorten the overall pull of the trigger, and reduce slop while shooting fast. Next, slowly pull the trigger to the rear until the gun goes off. When it does, watch your sights and make sure you keep the trigger pulled to the rear. Once the gun settles back on target, release the trigger back out until you feel a tactile/audible click (Reset). This will remind you the gun has reset and it can be fired again. Do not let the trigger out any further if you plan on taking another shot.
Additionally, if you shoot a double action pistol, remember the same steps apply to a DA firearm as mentioned above. While training, don't forget to practice that heavy double action trigger pull often. The DA trigger pull will generally be the weight of the trigger during a deadly encounter.
Stoppages are generally shooter induced but may also be caused by equipment or improper maintenance. Stoppages can be complex, but on the most basic level, they cause the firearm to stop working.
The two stoppages we discuss in this class include type I and type II stoppages. Type I stoppages
on the most basic level, indicate the gun has failed to feed or fire. We typically see this when shooters do not insert the magazine all the way into the magazine well and the slide barrel skims over the top of the first round. A second reason we see type I stoppages is due to shooters forgetting to rack the slide or charge the gun. Either way, the same "fix it" can be done to get the gun back into the fight. We do this with three steps: Tap, Rack, Re-Assess. Here's how we do it. First, you identify the gun is down and needs to get back into the fight.
1.) Get the gun up to eye level! Make sure the gun is between you and the target and not down by your waist or gun table. Now, tap the bottom of the magazine, make sure it is seated properly in the mag well and locked into the pistol.
2.) Rack the slide. Aggressively rack the slide to the rear and let the slide go home on its own spring tension
3.) Get the gun back up on target, but reassess the situation. In the time it took you to get your gun fixed, the complex environment you were in could have rapidly changed.
Type II stoppages occur for several reasons but the most common has to do with extractors and ejectors. A type II stoppage is commonly known as a double feed. A double feed in a gun fight is a bad situation to be in. This stoppage can take even skilled shooters 5 to 10 seconds to fix and that is a very long time. A double feed will generally have a case stuck in the chamber or locked between the new round and the slide and will result with the slide staying to the rear.
To fix this stoppage we need to understand it will take time to fix and will result in a down gun. This means that we need to find cover or get low. Whenever training for a type II stoppage, try to take a knee or use cover to build habit into your mind. Once you have cover, lets begin.
L.) Lock - With your finger off the trigger and keeping the gun as safe as possible, Lock the slide to the rear.
R.) Rip - Rip the magazine out of the pistol. Notice we say RIP. You must aggressively pull the mag out. Most of the time it will be stuck in the pistol until you do so.
R.) Rack - Rack, Rack, Rack - Rack the slide 3 times to get out any rounds that may be stuck in the chamber. If the rounds remain in the chamber, go ahead and reach in and finger sweep them out.
R.) Reload - Replace the firearm with a NEW source of ammunition. Not the magazine that didn't work. Chances are that may be a defective magazine.
R.) Reassess - As stated earlier, make sure to reassess the situation as it could have changed drastically
*We will be posting a video shortly on our youtube page that will show how to set a type II stoppage up for practice.
Dry firing - Dry fire shooting is the key to success, most competition shooters and professionals will tell you dry fire is where your "Money" is made. In a safe area of your home or at the range, making sure you have a clear gun, clear magazines and clear area, conduct some trigger presses every day. If you conduct 25 draw strokes and trigger presses a day, that's near 10,000 repetitions a year! While doing your dry fire, pretend you are under the microscope by your favorite instructor. Everything from the draw to the sight picture, and even your scan and assess should be expert.
The front sight case drill - Place a spent case on the top of your front site. With a friend, conduct an expert trigger pull all the way until the trigger breaks. The case should not fall or jump off the sight. Do this 100 times a month and watch your trigger break become much more proficient.
Slow fire x 5 drill - At 3, 5 or 7 yards, find a 1" or 2" square and take 5 well aimed shots in under 1 minute. The objective is to get all 5 shots in the same hole. Try not to aim for the center of the square, but more importantly, get a consistent group.
August 23rd, 2014 marked a new level of tactical training provided by Trigger Time Gun Club and the T3 Training cadre. 12 students and 5 instructors participated in our T3 Blacked Out Course. This 10 hour class took students on a journey from day light shooting to night vision engagements with Primary (carbine) and secondary (pistol) weapon systems. Each student shot in excess of 500 rounds of carbine and 100 of pistol during the entire day on 3 different ranges inside of our 7,000 acre range facility.
The Training Cadre can't thank our incredible students enough, you all displayed the utmost in tactical patience, concentration, professionalism and skill. Great job to all who came. Keep it Fresh.
FYI: Home Defense is not a call of duty game.
Kidding aside, Home defense is one of the initial reasons most good folks come to Trigger Time Gun Club and receive training from the T3 guys.
For many who did not grow up in a culture of guns or with a deep sense of protection, home defense can be kindled for a multitude of reasons: A recent violent encounter, the change in culture/political climate, a new born, or maybe a new neighborhood you don't feel comfortable in. Whatever your reason, home defense doesn't need to be a call of duty.
One of the biggest misnomers I often time try to demystify is the idea that a home defense package always needs to include a firearm. Although it is generally one of the best tools to employ, it is in no way required.
I have had the privilege to work with single mothers, couples, newly weds, baby boomers and everything in between. I have worked with a wide span of folks with different political views and in turn a plethora of moral views and obligations, It is not my job or my teams job to delegate our opinion on the topic of owning a gun. It is however, my teams job to suggest the best means available to defend your family and home with whatever you feel is applicable to your family and personal choices.
In this blog, we are going to discuss several different topics ranging from equipment to methods and training. All of which can be combined or omitted in your quest to become a defensive home owner or tenant.
(Real Disclaimer): Check with your property owner, HOA, city, county and state laws before developing your defense plan.
Step 1: The Morals.
Before you can build your defense plan, you need to make the hard (or easy) decisions on what is acceptable to include in your kit. This includes the obvious: Guns, knives, flashlights, etc...But it also includes budget, moral/religious obligations, personal views and the identification of possibly inflicting equal or greater violent, life changing trauma on another person etc.
It is completely bogus to believe the "Head of the household" regardless of sex or gender or training should be considered the "End all solution". A wife who states: "My husband will protect me..." is not a viable solution. And to continue with "...I would never let my son or daughter help defend this house" is equally ignorant.
What this would indicate to me, is the family is currently not ready to take the step to the next level of defense and this is perfectly acceptable.
What I would submit to any family or house hold is to choose your plan that can be consistent among the entire family or in some cases, room mates. I'm not suggesting we start teaching our five year old's how to pie a corner or use a shotgun, but if Mom and Dad are not comfortable with a gun in the house because of the kids - a hard decision will need to be made.
Case in point: I once had a couple who purchased a pistol for their house hold because of a new born in the family. 2 or 3 months later, the couple came back in to get training and I asked - "So tell me where you keep your firearm?" The wife responded, "We put it up in the attack stair frame." This is an example of a couple who want's to have a fire arm and has made the decision to own one, but has not come to terms with having the gun in the house. I see this all of the time, and it is OK to have these fears and interpretations.
If you are having difficulty reading past this section because some of these ideals belong to you, read below and see how many OTHER options you have before a gun, or even a deadly tool.
Step 2: The Occupancy and Atmosphere.
Occupancy and Atmosphere by definition is the type of property you live on and the density and populace who surround you. This is absolutely critical to identify your occupancy and atmosphere before deciding your defensive package.
The first "Y" in the road of atmosphere starts with identifying a rural, suburban or urban atmosphere. Someone who lives in a 1 story ranch on a 1.3 acre plot will have a different package then a family who lives on the 3rd floor of a metro area apartment complex. Conversely, a typical modern 2 story in a suburban Colorado community (like Westminster) will have different problems then a small, densely populated urban house (like Aurora).
Additionally, atmosphere also includes the populace in which surrounds your home. Crime rate, age profiles, burglary , etc can be a good place to start your research on your neighborhood. That being said, ALWAYS understand the safest most docile neighborhoods and communities can still have a home invasion, rape and even murder.
Finally, know thy neighbor. Yes, meet your neighbor. Really, go knock on the door. Meet them, have dinner, make a cocktail, play with the kids. Above all - learn your neighbors. This is such a huge deal and almost ALWAYS overlooked. Your neighbors are absolutely critical in developing your home defense package, but it does fall into the "Atmosphere" category. Your neighbors potentially could be considered a safe haven, a way of communication, a security measure, or even a rescuer. Conversely, they could be potentially violent, wrong-doers, thieves and criminals.
Now let's change gears. Occupancy is more tangible. Occupancy discusses the actual place you live. Do you live in a brick and mortar house, a poured concrete building complex, a traditional light weight framed wood home or even a trailer home? Not only does this knowledge assist in deciding a firearm selection, it includes deciding on passive security features which we will discuss later. Knowing the building type of your house will help you plan your escape routes, meeting locations, safe havens, or even defensive strategist.
Step 3: Making a plan.
Making a plan is by far the most arduous task at hand. I can't even begin to explain all of the options their are but we can talk about a plans. I understand their are many more but these three can serve as the foundation of your own, unique ideas:
Plan 1 of 3: A Passive package with no defensive tools:
Reason: This plan will generally work for most families and individuals who choose not to own a firearm, are on a strict budget or for those who do not have the moral courage to inflict death and violence on another when given legal parameters.
Idea: Understand this plan should never be offensive in design and generally includes only reaction to a specific problem or threat. This is not the optimal situation to be in and is a major con to this defensive package.
Method: Start with brainstorming ideas on paper. Some basic things that need to be identified and planned include:
1. Passive security measures/Identification of threats
2. Family check/Muster area (Safe haven)
3. Communication to rescuers.
4. Egress (Exiting a threat area)
1.) Passive security measures: Understand, their are many things we can do to the outside of our house or occupancy to mitigate many invasions and unwanted break-ins.
A good place to start is by double locking doors. I think it is safe to say, most of us live in a society where leaving the house unlocked is a thing of the past. Although this is something we usually wish was different, it is real life. Locking doors is something that needs to become motor memory. Not only for parents, but for children and roommates. Many times we do a great job of locking our front doors but often overlook or under estimate garage door entrances, side doors, and rear sliders. Also remember, day light hours give us a false sense of security. In summary, when not in use, or without securing the door by eye sight or proximity, all doors should remained locked and secure.
Additionally, any door that can be locked - should be double locked when at home or during the evening hours. Major door ways should have double lock systems to include any of the following: A dead bolt, security bar or better yet a door chain. A door chain is an excellent passive security device. When made from hardened steel link they are very strong. They allow a second layer of protection and provide for a locked door you can still open to identify who is knocking at the door. (Remember, Install this door lock for access to a child who is responsible enough to answer a door and teach them how to use it.) A 4' tall child can not use this lock which is commonly placed at 5 feet or higher.
For sliding glass doors and windows, you can purchase an after market lock or use a simple wood dowel to secure the slider in place. These add incredible security.
Lighting: Lighting is a huge deterrent to would be attackers and thieves. Lighting can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be. You can purchase powered lighting devices for as little as 35.00 - 200.00. Consider placing security lights on the corners of houses with access points. Lights can point towards bedrooms and living areas to alert folks to an activated security light. Generally 3 - 5 (When placed correctly) can generate adequate security for a typical home.
If your home has external lighting features, consider leaving them on at night. Although you may pay more in energy bills, consider this a part of your security budget.
Audible alarms: We have all heard of the big companies who provide security systems and devices. Obviously this is the way to go if your budget allows you. Not only do you get lighting, audible and emergency notification, most of these alarms can be accessed by smart phones and computers while away from home.
If you cannot afford these systems which generally include a $100 - 500.00 installation fee and monthly expenses of $20.00 - 100.00. Think outside the box - Many of the home improvement stores carry inexpensive construction grade motion alarms that provide great initial detection. They range from $20.00 - 50.00 and can be placed in and outside of the home.
Consider the placement of thorny bushes or thick hedge near main windows and entrance points to mitigate unwanted entrances. These passive security measures have been used by families, business and military units for centuries and are excellent low cost tools that look great too.
This is a great article by English police (It works well in the UK too)
Family check/status: One of the scariest ideas to imagine is an active intruder alarm being engaged and not knowing where your loved ones are in the house. This stress can be amplified by adrenaline, fear, the dark, and violent sounds and views.
Developing a family check system is mandatory.
1.) Identify a safe haven for kids and family to meet in during a possible encounter. Usually the master bedroom, this is the place where the kids know to go if a intruder alarm activates, a window shatters or a loud bang is heard. Safe havens are places children should easily identify and usually tends to be the parents bed room. Keep in mind - If children sleep in distant rooms which could impede the child from getting to the safe haven because the intruder is between point A and B, this may not be a viable action. If this is the case, it may be required that an adult is identified as the person who rounds up the children and takes them to the safe haven or gets them out of the house safely.
Also identify an alternate safe haven. In case the above situation occurs, or Mom and Dad are actively defending the home, the child may need to identify an alternate safe haven. This can be a neighbors home, the apartment across the hall or even the woods behind the house. Whatever the situation, develop a way to account for your loved ones when the main plan fails.
Cell phones can also be important tools when checking the status of your family. If the child is old enough to have a phone, they will probably have it with them all of the time. It is important to teach your children to ALWAYS call 911 before a parent or adult. Not only will this get emergency responders en route, it will assist call takers in knowing where all the occupants of the house are. Additionally, they can usually relay to the parents (Who should also be on the phone with 911) that the kids are calling in too.
Communication with rescuers: The biggest reaction to a threat is to get 911 coming. If an aggressor is intent on causing you or your family harm, he or she will not stop until they are stopped. If you do not have the tools to do this, you will need the Police to come quickly.
One of the biggest coaching points I would advise is to start teaching your children this from a young age. I,e: Calling your parents during a home invasion, will not get rescuers there any faster. Calling 911 is the only sure fire way to start the process. Also, Parents may be hurt, unconscious or even dead and a child needs to understand they may need to call someone else in those circumstances.
1.) Purchase cell phones - Most children already have cell phones (Leave your opinions behind). If they don't or you do not want your child to have a phone, go to your local tech store and purchase a pre paid phone and do not activate a line of service. All phones are required to call 911 without an active payment plan. This applies for out dated and unused phones. With this in mind, it is also critical to make sure the phone is constantly charged.
2.) Commit important numbers to memory. I don't know how often I talk to someone who tells me they can't recall their spouses cell phone number, kids number or even the home number. This is a terrible habit to get into and can cause serious problems in a stressful event. Many times, a cell phone may be dead and you need to use a home phone or someone else's phone.
3.) Create a security bag. A security bag is a low cost solution for most homes that can be placed in every room of the house and can be easily employed by all ages. This kit will have everything one would need to assist themselves in a scary encounter. This kit can include:
A fanny pack, old purse or old backpack. Ultimately it needs to be kept on person. In this kit should include:
1.) A working cell phone.
2.) Flash Light
3.) Whistle (used only as a last resort or when police are on scene)
4.) A set of keys for the house (used by police to get in without forcing a door)
5.) Mace or defensive tools
Egress: Egress or exiting a structure is usually the forgotten step in most family security packages. Ultimately it should be the first step to survival. A family or child without tools to defend themselves (And even those who can) should consider egress the first plan. Doors, windows and basement egress points should all be identified to all who live in a home or apartment. They should also be drilled into the family until they can be opened and exited from until it is second nature. These drills are incredibly important. They will help identify if the child has the strength to do it, as well as practice to make them comfortable.
Children and young adults also need to understand they may have to egress the home without Mom or Dad, without Brother and Sister and without toys.
Children need to be educated on the procedures after they have exited. Who they call, how they do it, where they go and what they say should be fully understood. Giving children this responsibility can be a big step, but many times fosters a more mature child ready to take on this challenge.
Summary: Keep in mind, this plan is the least preferred of what we will be discussing. This is the minimum set of plans you should have in place. That being said, the other two packages we will discuss in Part 2 and Part 3 all start with this same foundation of design. We simply add in tools and defensive firearms to our packages.
In Part 2 we will discuss the second of three types of Home Defense Solutions.
By Mark Williams:
Thank you to all of our students who attended the sold out April 11 - 13 CE Class. This was such a great class with a great group of folks from different walks of life. From Career United States Marine Staff NCO's to Educational staff, this class had a wide spread of skill sets that we had the pleasure to work with. During this class we experienced some pretty big weather on Day 3 that all of our students had to deal with. 20 degree real temp. with a wind chill of about 10 degrees and 10 - 30 mph winds made this a unique challenge. During these times, we must (and did) make the most of the training which allows for valuable take-a-way's even though we emotionally may not be having a good time. It is not very often one can be exposed to these weather conditions and be presented with a high level of training along with a positive mental attitude that continues to foster a great environment to learn in.
Instructor feed back: From all of the instructors: We were very happy to see our students have such a great mindset during the course. From day 1, this class had exceptional safety regarding muzzle awareness and safety manipulation. We apologize we did not get the scores of the Navy seal qual. on day. We felt day 3 did not create an environment to score this properly. We will requal on the Alumni outing on May 31st.
During day two, much of the class excelled in the manual of arms and manipulation, reloads and function drills. We noticed the biggest pitfall across the board was trigger control. Slapping the trigger was a continual work in progress. (A surprise break is needed to ensure a well aimed shot.) Another focus area was on correct posture. It is incredibly important to keep your eyes, gun and chest up on target as you conduct reloads and manipulations. Lowering the gun to the deck is a sign of fatigue and/or bad habit. Keep the gun and eyes up all of the time. (This goes for pistol too!)
On day three, we were exposed to some crazy weather. With that being said, movements, manipulations and drills were slowed to a crawl. This is to be expected even by law and military units in cold conditions. With the weather at hand, we couldn't have asked for a better day. We will take the Alumni outing on May 31st and add that feedback to this blog when it comes around.
Homework: The Carbine skillset is very erodible and can be daunting when trying to remember specific drills and techniques that will enable you to grow as a shooter. Below I will list several of the drills we conducted and you can continue to do at home, on the range or during our Alumni outings:
Safety: Many times, safety (manipulation) is looked at as a mundane rule and often times people write it off as a misnomer. This is completely incorrect. Safety on a static range when you are in your comfort level is not the same as being out of your element, extremely fatigued, stressed and possibly wounded. This is what we have to train to...Safety manipulation has to be spot on during basic training and manual of arms so it is wired into your combat mindset during a real gun fight or high stress competition.
Safety Manipulation: Remember, the safety is on ALL of the time. The only time we take the safety off is during live fire. The actual press of the trigger initiates the safety selector to the fire position.
During speed/combat/tactical reloads, the safety should also be turned on when doing the reload. This is even more important when on the move or taking cover in an unorthodox fashion.
Time/Space: Depending on the distance, space and area of a given area, you need to make the determination if the safety should remain on fire or be switched to "safe" when transitioning to another target. Chances are, if the target is close to the other it is advised to remain on fire. If the target requires a change in body position, or their is a potential for a civilian or by-stander in the area, it should be turned on safe.
Scan and assess: Scan and assess is a mechanical action taken to break a persons mindset of tunnel vision. The scan and assess is to be done after every dry fire, live fire or drill conducted. Remember our verbal command: "Front, left, front, right, front, rear, front". This 360 scan will ensure you have mitigated and threats or targets in the area, checked for family and loved ones, and have ensured the scene is safe.
Dust Cover: This is simple - The dust cover does two things: It keeps the action clean and clear. Two, it is your confirmation you are ready for the following drill, gun fight, or action. My closing the dust cover, you have ensured your firearm is ready to go, your area is clear, you are free of mental baggage and are ready to engage.
Trigger Control: Your trigger generally has 5 stages: Prep, creep, break, over-travel and reset. We teach to shoot to the reset on a carbine. The textile and audible click of the reset indicates you have fairly good trigger control. We do not want to "Slap or Jerk" the trigger. A smooth, surgical, controlled trigger press is what we are looking for.
Drills: Below is a list of drills you can complete to continue your carbine mastery.
1x5 drill: With 5 mags stored on person, load each to one round. Start with 1 magazine loaded into the carbine, weapon on safe, dust cover closed. On command, fire one round. This should lock the bold to the rear. Conduct a speed reload to the command of " Tap, tug, roll, rack". This drill will be done 4 times until you are our of magazines to reload. If you have a shot clock, work on increasing speed and accuracy on your own.
2" drill: At 25 yards, take 5 well aimed shots at the same point of aim. The goal is to have 5 shots through 1 hole. To do this drill properly, remember: Trigger control (surprised break, trigger reset, follow though) must all be perfect. Each shot must be mastered to create an accurate group.
Failure drill: At any distance: From the ready position, move to the "Up" position. Discharge a hammer cadence of 2, 3 or 4 shots into the upper chest area of a target. Transition to the head "T Box" or Pelvic girdle and engage a well aimed "Stopping" shot at the head or pelvis. Remember, this should include a defined break in rhythm to create a well aimed shot.
Once again, thanks to all students who attended the April CE course. We look forward to seeing you at the end of the month.
By: Mark Williams
First of all, I discourage the use of the term "Bug out" and anything associated with the idea of it, i,e: Prepping, family preparedness, Go-bag... or any other name that many mainstream personalities have dubbed for this style of life and as some call it, 'piece of mind'. I think it encourages a false sense of security and almost always results in complacency. I'd rather just hear it called "Trying to survive"
I know this may not come as a shocker for many who know me, but for those who don't, let me preface. I genuinely continue to self educate and live my life as a pragmatic man and more importantly someone who is dictated by decision and not fate. I think that says something about my philosophy behind the lifestyle of "prepping". Just for the record, I will be using that term as an all inclusive definition for the remainder of this article.
I understand this article may raise an eyebrow and it may even infuriate you. I also understand you may not get the answer you want out of this article. Please remember, many of you have asked for me to speak on the subject of prepping, and I am giving you my extremely transparent idea of survival. The problem is, my idea does not fall in line with the mainstream TV shows, Youtube and magazines devoted to that lifestyle of prepping.
The picture shown above was by far one of the worst days I had in my military career. That ruck was on my back for 20 of the 36 hour mission we ran that weekend. During that entire mission not a shot was fired. In fact, the main reason for that long range patrol was to recon a possible insurgent route and safe house used to harbor and deploy IED facilitators. This info was pushed to my team from a Battalion intelligence source. Unfortunately, most intelligence cycles are only accurate about 60% of the time. Needless to say, we learned what the other 40% is like.
To be honest, I don't remember spending the 12 hours at the observation post (OP) we established. What I do remember was the 16 miles we had to patrol back from our CH-53 drop point. Sixteen miles in a piece of terrain highly saturated with IED's. I remember an ignorant Sergeant named Mark Williams wearing a grossly over prepared sustainment ruck with way more gear, comm. and ammo than needed. I remember the 120lb pack as we climbed up some rough approaches with coral reef like stone. I remember the 110 degree weather which was not normal for that time of year. That climate made foot movement for more than 1 hour at a time absolutely unattainable. Most of all, I remember returning to base (RTB) and washing the feeling of regret and pain off my back as I laid in a natural river running through Patrol Base Hand for 2 hours until the sun went down.
Through pain and experience I have learned to trust myself and my abilities more. I have also learned that I cannot take on self preservation by myself. I need to be a man and accept certain limitations and short comings. I have also learned to do a bit more research and planning instead of just doing what I think is right. Can this idea be translated to prepping? Absolutely!
As a firearms and defensive instructor I often get asked questions about prepping. And because some consider me somewhat of an expert, (which I am not), I usually answer most questions without disrespecting the person seeking information. Not disrespecting them intentionally or because of ignorance, but because of two reasons. A.) Said customer already has an answer he is looking for and is just seeking confirmation or B.) Said customer is already highly invested in a current prepping plan that said named customer is looking to reconcile. That being said, lets discuss the mainstream ideas.
Being fair, their are generally two schools of thought one can argue in regards to theory of survival past a kinetic incident i.e: natural disaster, major conflict or unforeseen incident. Those two ideas are sustainment and mobility. Sustainment, is where most people fall into this game. Those who call themselves "preppers". Sustainment preppers usually have several key focus areas that need to be completed in order to make it work. These include:
1.) A safe place/fortification
3.) An Emergency action plan
4.) Defensive planning/operations
5.) Sustaining life support
By just reading the above 5 subjects, sustainment prepping can be overwhelming and I guess it should be. It is expensive and tedious. I often watch our favorite TV shows highlighting this lifestyle. While I watch my television, I hold my beer a little tighter because of how upset I get. At least it's entertaining. I'll get back to this later.
The other style of survival is based on mobility. This involves the idea of rapid relocation to either the above place or to a generally safe location. This is where the gear and objects in "go bags/ bug out bags" all come in to play. I think I would fall in line more with this type of idea myself, but I think you will see later it's still much more dynamic than this. Mobility preppers usually have less expenses but almost always have a much more tedious preparedness schedule constantly moving gear and updating lists, etc.
This usually features:
1.) One or more gear bags with life sustaining equipment
3.) Defensive tools
4.) An emergency action plan
5.) Logistics to relocate to a sustainable life support location.
Both of these prepping ideals usually involve an "End of the world scenario". In the military we refer to these ideas as the "What ifs". Unfortunately there is no answer to all of the what ifs and that is the issue behind prepping and the basis of my argument. For instance, what if my Afghan hike turned into a 24 hour sustained fire fight. Would the 210 rounds of ammo I was carrying be enough? The what if's can be daunting and there is never an answer to those questions. However, "What if?" is not always a bad question to ask. Sometimes, with a little pragmatic antic, it can be a valuable training piece.
In my 9 years as an Infantryman, Firearms Instructor and Career Fire Fighter, I have seen some of the most violent places in the world. I have seen the people who populate them and I have also met that fire with equal fire. The variable that we can never prepare for is the Human condition. The human condition is the scariest monster on the face of the planet and unfortunately it will almost never work for you, or your family.
The issue is, any natural disaster or kinetic (emergency/gun fight/violent encounter) event that perpetuates a life of survival cannot be predicted. Because of this, we cannot just predict our survival plan and put all of our eggs in one basket. Like all of our survival gear in one bag (so to speak). We have to be adaptable to any incident with any readily available tools for any given terrain and climate. We also have to adapt to the culture and location those tools and terrain may put us in.
I think this would be a great place to explain what I have in my kit in which I hope to survive on: Here is my list of 10 things I check off each morning.
2.) Training on equipment
3.) Communication skills
4.) Education of culture
1.) A CCW with 17 rounds
2.) A Flash Light
3.) A Knife
5.) Small food supply
6.) First Aid
Were you expecting those 10 items? With all honesty, that is my bug-out kit. Why? It's what I have on me 100% of the time.
Some military inspired antics:
1.)"What if" your state experiences a severe natural disaster while you're at work. On your drive home, your vehicle runs out of gas, it's 20 degrees and by the time you walk home, you realize your entire life, your home and your gear, has been lost. Demolished. Gone.
2.)"What if" a situation arises requiring you to leave your home, you get in your car, attempt to drive to your "safe" location and half way there, an army unit puts up 5 fingers and a palm. "Turn around!"
3.)"What if" you lose power, and on the 11th day every grocery store and resupply point within 30 miles is out of water and food. Your 10 day supply is gone.
4.) "What if" the family you swore to protect and help survive dies in a kinetic event?
5.) "What if" 4 military age males enter your house seeking safety and food. The 4 guys have much bigger guns then you and you know they will kill you and your family for your rations?
6.)"What if" I spent my life prepping but because it is against federal law, I cannot ascertain the life saving drugs I need for my wife who has a rare disease. All we have left a 10 day supply and FEMA/STATE/CITY has not secured a means for you to get those drugs?
You see, that was 6 possible events. Do you have a "prep" system for each of those scenarios? Are you ready to react currently for all of those situations. Chances are, you are not. We need to understand, The worlds events are so dynamic, there is absolutely no way to be prepared for any of them.
When you realize that the basement that is full of goods and supplies may not be attainable or, your 40 year old body with a bad back may not be able to support a 60 lb 3 day pack on the move...you may realize its not so easy to just ask the question, or in my case answer the question: "Mark what is your suggestion for a bug out bag?"...
Here are my 6 core fundamentals I abide by as a person who lives to survive:
1.) Understand yourself, your family and your abilities and limitations. - Understand when an event comes around that forces you to survive, you have no one you can truly trust but your family and self. Ask yourself some questions: Is my daughter good at sewing? Does my son have an uncanny ability to speak with respect and integrity? Can my wife deal with the idea of seeing husband? Can I deal with the idea of losing one or more of my children? Where can I use my strengths and how will my family bring out the best in me?
2.) Know thy neighbor, appreciate and condone your culture. - This isn't just the neighbor you live next to or the culture you WANT to live in. It is everyone who you might interact with and the cultures who you may not agree with. Co-workers, fellow travelers, police/fire, political figures, people of different ethnicity and yes - the people on your block. Based on your daily life and the people you interact with, how will they react in the event of a natural disaster? Who is friend, who is foe? Who can help me and WHO CAN I HELP? Do my neighbors have potential assets I don't? Do my neighbors present potential conflict? Does the ethnic family that lives across the street from me present as a nice, welcoming, generous family? If you open up a bit to our diverse culture and your neighbors, you may be doing more good than harm (Even if the world doesn't come to an end).
3.) Train on tactics and technique and get in shape - Bluntly said, learn how to use the tools you have and try to lose a few pounds or walk a little further and faster. It doesn't hurt to visit a driving school, attend a community college class on sociology 101, Take a legit firearms class. Attend a T-CCC (T Triple C) or first aid class. Learn! and never stop educating. While your at it - join a fitness club, or walk a few extra miles a week. The pay off will be huge. (Hint) this is usually the last place most people ever spend money on and is one of the most important.
4.) - Have a plan. - By now I hope I have at least lifted an eye brow. If you take away just one thing from this article - Diversify your survival plan. No one plan is enough. No one mindset is enough. You need to be just as dynamic as the places you travel and the people you know. It is not wrong to write your plans down, share them with your family and actually ask for input. You would be surprised how in-tune your teenagers are to current culture and may shed some light on topics you have never thought of. Develop plans, develop more plans and most importantly...make sure those you care about know them.
5.) Have the right gear - Unfortunately the human condition usually sends this item to the top of the list. But it is not as important as you think. Be a man and understand this is the least of your worries. All of the best gear in the world means nothing if you don't know how to use it or if it cannot be reached. Identify the things you can control the majority of the time like: What I carry on my person every day, what is available around me, what I can acquire with relative ease and safety, etc. Once you can identify those items, work back and figure out how to fill the voids.
I won't deny, having a 3 - 5 day supply of food and water at home with a defensive tool is wise, but we cannot let that idea infect our heads to much. By the way - Go buy a case of Vodka and a couple cartons of cigarettes. They will be worth more then any rare earth metal of stone. I promise you this.
6.) Learn the human condition - The man sitting next to you on the bus every day will probably not have an issue with putting a bullet in your head to secure a glass of water when he has not had a drink of water in our Colorado summer climate for 5 days. Your co-workers may choose to hide under their desk during a severe weather incident when YOU know the only chance of survival is to fight on and egress from your office building. You may need to be a man and fight on, you may need to defend yourself by taking someone else's life, you may need to inspire others by being different.
Understand the world is a violent and gross place to live. Enter Katrina. The earth quake of Sumatra, Indonesia. The Irish potato famine and most recently, the winter storms of 13'-14'. Most people will be fully ready or in the right place when things get real bad. Unfortunately for us and in today's culture, things get real bad when their is no internet, cable or grocery store.
Be a man and understand you are not perfect, your plan is never perfect and we need to continually change. Being monotonous has never led to prosperity. Not in politics, not in war and not in survival. Understand yourself, know thy neighbor, train, have a plan, get the right gear and learn how humans work. Once you can begin to master those principles you may be a little more flexible, adaptable and prepared.
Below you will find some photos of thing I suggest to diversify. Keep in mind, ounces equal pounds and pounds equal pain. Apply this everywhere. All of the items below can modified or changed to allow for storing or carrying in a small space like a car, home or tent, and in my case, on person... Food for thought.
I need to preface this one:
The above photo is a military style back pack. This style back-pack sends a powerful message when out and about on the street. It doesn't take a person like me or you to understand a dude with a tactical - looking
backpack either has terrible taste in fashion or is carrying a gun, works in the military/police/first responder community or has some training which sends an immediate message to anyone looking for these things. Imagine a big spot light on you when your trying to fit in. I see it all the time on our streets. If your going to the range or live that life, its perfect but in a survival situation, go with a bag or ruck that is a little less obvious and blends in everywhere. Mystery Ranch, Eberlestock, 5.11
and Kelty make excellent bags which are military grade and wont compromise yourself when you need to blend in.
Red: Mystery Ranch Swift
Black/Grey: 5.11 COVRT 18 Backpack
Thank you to all of the students who attended the T3 Pistol Essentials course, class 2-22-2014. We are very proud of all of our students who improved their defensive pistol skills over the 9 hour day. This blog is dedicated to you and are committed to your success as a shooter and defensive citizen.
For the Students:
Homework: Repetition! Every time you load/unload, holster/un-holster or dry fire, do it with aggression and in your work space. Remember, we fight like we train and train like we fight. Every time we have a chance to do a repetition, Do it! The second homework piece: Come to our range or the one you attend and practice the skills you learned at the class. Take a note pad and write down the skills you learned today or shortly after the class. Then check those skills how they changed several weeks after you attended our class. Did you remember to have the proper position, grip and stance? Did you make sure the web of your hand was high in the tang of the pistol? Remember the small details make huge differences down range.
Drills you can practice:
The Zipper Drill: Using 1 piece of painters tape 8" long, place it vertically on your target at 3 yards. Practice sight picture and sight alignment with proper trigger control. Remember, the goal is to get all of your rounds touching each other centered on the tape and the rounds should be touching top to bottom. This is a great drill for identifying shooter trouble and errors.
The 1" Box: Using extreme care to take the best shots possible at 5 yards, discharge 5 rounds inside of a 1" box. You must have your aiming, breathing, trigger control and follow through in check to do this drill properly. Remember, if you have shots that fly or are starting to develop a negative pattern get with the instructors to see what the problem is.
Times reload: Load all of your carry mags to 1 round. Fire that 1 round to slide lock and continue to combat reload your firearm until you have been through all of your on person magazines. This drill will build muscle memory and force of habit to get your pistol back up from a dry mag.
Timed Draw: Set your TTGC target carrier to turn at 3 seconds. Send your carrier out to 5 yards with a man size target on your backer. With a holstered gun wait for the target to turn, when it does safely use the 5 step draw and deliver 1 well aimed shot at the thoracic cavity. Remember, the best can do it in 1.25 - 1.50 seconds, that's a goal you should work to get in the future.
If you ever have questions regarding the class, drills or just need some advice, comment on the box below and we will get you on the straight path!
Trigger Time Gun Club and T3 Open house 8:00am - 5:00pm, Saturday April 19th.
Trigger Time Gun Club will be hosting its first ever Open house on April 19th. This open house will host an assortment of events, prizes and demo's all day long.
The T3 Training team will be present and hosting several classes throughout the day with topics ranging from hunting to precision rifles and concealed carry. All of the classes will be free and you will be able to purchase our formal training at a discounted price. Be looking at the shopping section of T3main.com to register for the free classes before the event begins. Those will be posted the first week of March.
On the range, we will host several live demonstrations and trials for our members and public to experience. You will be playing with precision rifles, machine guns, suppressors and night vision optics.
Throughout the store we will have several of our favorite reps on site to show off their latest gear and maybe even give away a few prizes.
Also, Terry Wickstrom from ESPN 102.3 will be on site in the AM broadcasting live from the Trigger Time Range!
Door prizes, raffles, giveaways and many other great things will be going on at the shop April 19th. Their is no entry fee to this event, however fees will be assessed to the weapon demo/trials, and raffles. More info will be posted here and on our Facebook page: Trigger Time Gun Club as it becomes available.
By: Mark Williams
"Fire Control" is by far one of the most important things we teach at the Carbine Essentials class and also the hardest to understand. Simply put, it is the marrying of the shooters strong hand (usually right) to the pistol grip. As Instructor Trevor M. states "Fire control is like your foot on the gas pedal and your non dominant hand is the steering wheel". Having your strong hand on the pistol grip all of the time ensures the carbine can be manipulated, controlled, put on/off safe and of course fired. Any time we take our fire control off of the carbine, we loss the ability to do all of those things. Although this seems like common sense, it is much harder to do then it looks.
We usually see students leave fire control when loading and unloading the carbine, operating the charging handle or trying to manipulate another piece of gear. For bench rest shooters, this may suffice. For competitive and real world carbine users this can be down right dangerous. Additionally , we see many beginning carbine shooters go off fire control when looking for magazines on their kit. Understand, it is up the shooter to learn his or her gear so when the reload comes, it becomes muscle movement to those magazine pouches with the non-dominant/non- fire control hand.
Fire Control also has one big benefactor, safety! T3 is harsh on students about safety control. An M4 Carbine platform is inherently dangerous and is easy to cause an negligent discharge (ND). Military and Law have been dealing with these problems for over 50 years and all of us instructors have seen it happen in real world circumstances and on the training range. You need to understand your safety cannot ever be used enough. It should be on 99.9 percent of the time your are using your gun. As we teach during the CE course, the only time you switch off safe is that 1/10th of second before you pull the trigger.
We usually see near misses and negligent discharges happen when shooters are on the move. For instance; shooter fires his carbine with a control pair, walks forward five steps and then puts his foot in a rut. The shooter stumbles and because he forgot to safety his firearm, unconsciously squeezes his fingers into a fist when he falls and the firearm is discharged. It is important to remember if their is no immediate threat that you are actively firing on, the firearm should be on safe, whether in the alert, ready or gun position.
If your still confused, check out this video. Watch as the instructor never leaves fire control. Before the drill when he does his press check and slams the forward assist, his right hand stays on the pistol grip. Notice how during the entire drill, the safety is turned on and off every time the shooter moves from position to position. Try to see the safety being turned on during the speed reload and then off on the next engagement. This is proper fire control and safety management.
Their is only a couple of times we suggest taking your hand off fire control. Although their are several other reasons, these are the most realistic and most reoccurring reasons:
1.) To conduct an immediate action to a type II or III stoppage. (Double feed and brass over bolt)
2.) To administratively lock your bolt to the rear.
3.) To conduct a strong side to weak side transition (Obviously)
With that being said, take a look at your carbine and your gear and identify any accessories you may have which require your to operate them with your fire control hand. Lights, Lasers, PEQs, DBALS,NODS (Night optic devices) Tape switches. They all need to be positioned so they can either be operated ambidextrously or on your dominant side.
Fire control and safety management is a boring aspect of carbine training . In fact its like OSHA compliance and sexual harassment training in the workplace. The issue is, without fire control and safety management, you cant continue to do the technical skills without this incredibly important discipline. Attend the Carbine Essentials class by Trigger Time Training in Longmont, Colorado and we will give you the tools needed to get it done right.
If you have any questions or comments please comment below or message the instructors!
By: Mark Williams
Trigger Time Gun Club doesn't have the cheapest pro shop in the area. In fact, Trigger Time Gun Club isn't close to cheap when it comes to our gear. Think I'm committing retail suicide right now? Negative, do you know why I say that with pride?...Trust. It's not very often you can walk into a shop, visit a shooting center or talk with instructors and staff and viscerally feel you are getting the best product the industry has to offer. That trust to know that what you are buying is reliable, robust and above all trusted is the key to our success and has been our vision since the beginning. We hope thats a big reason why our customers and students keep coming back. TTGC and T3 have a great relationship with some fantastic manufactures, distributors and private makers of gear and firearms. The "Gear and Equipment" section of the T3 Blog is your place to come and find the latest gear that we trust to use on our deployments, during Long Range matches, and on the streets. Below are a few icons of the gear we use professionally and sell daily.
L-R/ T-B Daniel Defense, Surefire, High Speed Gear Inc, EO Tech, Knights Armament, Zero Tolerance, Kahles Optics, Vectronix, Flatline Ops, Accushot
Mark is the Chief trainer at TTGC and T3. With over 8 years in the security industry as a US Marine, Professional Instructor and constant student, Mark has a passion for assisting others with Training and Equipment. We hope to hear from you here on the T3 blog and look forward to some good conversations.
Trigger Time Gun Club L.L.C, All rights reserved
3575 Stagecoach Rd. Longmont, Colorado 80504